Superintendent Student Advisory Council collected more than 1,000 toys and supplies

A toothbrush. A tube of toothpaste. A pack of toilet paper. A bar of soap. Stuffed animals. A football. A basketball. A much sought after doll or action figure.

To most, these items are random and hold no significance. To others, they can often change a day, a week, a month or a season from dismal to tolerable.

To one group of students at DeKalb County School District (DCSD), they were a vehicle for serving the local community.

Students in DCSD’s Superintendent Student Advisory Council collected more than 1,000 toys, toiletries, and hygienic supplies as part of the organization’s Winter Festival Community Service project.

The Superintendent Student Advisory Council is a group of students in grades 8-12 who meet with DCSD Superintendent/CEO R. Stephen Green to discuss decisions made at the district level and how they are affecting students.

When meeting, students also discuss outside issues that affect classmates on a daily basis. One particular issue—poverty—became a focal point for the advisory council, and the subject of the Winter Festival Community Service project.

As part of the project, members of the advisory council mobilized their respective school communities. Each day, students asked their peers to bring in soaps, lotion, toys, and other items.

Collected items were measured on a point system before being distributed to those less fortunate in the DCSD community. For example, a bar of soap may have awarded the school one point while a packaged toy was awarded three points.

By the end of the project, DeKalb School of the Arts’s (DSA) collection of more than 400 items was declared the most in DCSD, earning them a school-wide ice cream luncheon.

“It is so important for our students to be involved in things outside of their academics and arts that make them well-rounded people,” said DSA principal Susan McCauley. “Building the skills and making the commitment to help people is important. I’m very proud of our student leadership has been so strong this year and made it happen.”

McCauley said that sometimes, students do not take into account how much support they have at home, at school and in the surrounding community.

“For students to understand there are others out there who are much less fortunate than they are is so important,” McCauley said. “It broadens their perspective. It makes them better human beings. As they go out into the world [beyond DSA], they’ll be interacting with more and more diverse populations. It’s a great opportunity to realize what people may need beyond our schoolhouse and serve others.”